Perhaps the most obvious similarity between the representatives of the world religions at this interfaith symposium is their sweet devotion to their practices, faith, and gods. I must say that I feel a bit like the odd person in this group in this regard, because my relationship to the Buddha is not obviously one of devotion (bhakti).
Certainly I am devoted to the path—I could not have dedicated eight years to silent practice without some degree of trust, devotion and love for this path. I also hold the Buddha with the highest regard, but this is a gift of respect, not worship. And I admit that I am often moved to tears of inspiration and joy when I hear or read Dhamma teachings, yet still, I would not call myself devotional. I don’t sing praises to the Buddha, I don’t worship his name, I don’t accept the written suttas as truth, and I don’t surrender my will to those who teach in his lineage.
How does devotion manifest in my Buddhist practice? Maybe it is simply the trust that keeps me seeking the goal, that keeps me practicing with whatever life might bring, that keeps me studying, meditating, and not resting content with any minor attainments so far achieved.
The Buddha showed us a way to the ending of greed, hatred, and delusion in all forms. That seems like a goal worthy to strive for in my lifetime, and perhaps many lifetimes. Is that devotion?